State audit of City of St. Louis underway

St. Louis American — by: Nicole Galloway, State Auditor


My comprehensive audit of the City of St. Louis is underway, and I want to thank both the civic leaders and the concerned citizens who were instrumental in bringing about this thorough look at the city’s finances. Although the formal request for an audit came from the Board of Aldermen, I know there was an active group of St. Louis residents who began a petition drive to require an audit. My staff and I are approaching this as a citizen-initiated audit.

This audit will be no small endeavor, as shown by the last comprehensive audit of the city that was completed in 2010. Over a two-year period, the State Auditor’s Office released reports covering 26 separate city offices, agencies and departments, including the Mayor, the Department of Health, the Police Department, the Treasurer, the Recorder of Deeds and every other office in the city.

The State Auditor’s Office stands as Missouri’s fiscal watchdog, bringing fairness, integrity and professionalism to the review process. I promise the citizens of St. Louis that my office will carry out a thorough and independent review of how public resources are managed, and we will hold government accountable to taxpayers. You deserve nothing less.

Already, I have met with elected and appointed officials, community leaders, members of the clergy, and others who are at the forefront of this great city. They understand the recommendations from this audit can help local government become more efficient and effective – and, in turn, make St. Louis a better place in which to live, work and raise a family.

Citizens also are going to play a vital role in providing us with information and concerns, and I want to give all residents the opportunity to make their voices heard. We will gather feedback from citizens through meetings in locations throughout the city.

We’ve also set up a special web page, auditor.mo.gov/STLAudit, to answer questions about the audit process and to provide links for contacting the State Auditor’s Whistleblower Hotline online with information and concerns. Citizens can choose to remain anonymous with the online form or when they call 1-800-347-8597.

Staff from the State Auditor’s Office also have begun their review of the findings from the previous state audit. This initial stage will enable us to see what progress has been made on the recommendations in that audit.

But in many ways, this audit will be a fresh look at how public resources are being spent and how city business is being conducted. Residents should be aware that this will be a substantial undertaking to include multiple reports issued over many months. Because of the extensive scope of the audit, it is estimated that the cost to the city will be between $1.25 million and $1.75 million.

I encourage St. Louisans who want to become involved in improving their city to go to my website to make their concerns and information known. It will help my auditors in forming a more complete picture of your city government, and help us with the recommendations to make St. Louis better. I look forward to hearing from you.

For information on the audit or to contribute anonymous tips, visit auditor.mo.gov/STLAudit or call 1-800-347-8597.